Breakthrough week for Burnett Basketball

Bantam boys and girls teams advance to V&D Championships for first time in recent memory

It was big week for the re-building basketball program at Burnett Secondary.

After a significant dry spell, both Bantam teams at the Granville Avenue school are headed to the Vancouver and District Championships thanks to strong finishes in the city playoffs.

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The Breakers continued their late season charge with a third place finish in the Richmond Girls Championships. A 47-26 win over Steveston-London on Thursday secured the final spot in the V&D playoffs.

Remarkably, there was no certainty there would even be a team this season until outside volunteer coach Martin Bollo stepped up. He was familiar with a number of players, having coached them at the elementary level at Spul’u’kwuks.

Burnett finished regular season play with six straight wins then defeated Richmond High to open the playoffs. A hard-fought semi-final loss to McNair (45-36) was followed by the impressive bounce back win over a Sharks team it had narrowly defeated two weeks earlier (34-33).

The V&D Championships will take place at MacNeill where the Breakers will open play against the North Shore champion. It will be their first time in the tournament in at least 15 years.

Meanwhile, Burnett’s boys team was a model of consistency all season — following up an 8-2 run in league play with a second place finish in the city playoffs.

The run to Friday’s title game included 50-35 win over McRoberts, then a 49-40 triumph against host MacNeill in the semi-finals. It was the Breakers’ first appearance in the Richmond Bantam Boys final in 13 years.

The team will now prepare for the V&D Championships which will take place just blocks away at Richmond High, starting Feb. 12. They will take on the Burnaby/New West League champs at 7:30 p.m.

The boys are coached by Burnett vice-principal Lester Leung, while a number of them attend the Vancouver Huskies Academy which is led by senior boys coach and former USports player Jamal Mullings.

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